Is it really possible to earn rent from 1000 units, especially if you have a job with limited income? That’s exactly what military veteran Charlie Hardage did in just a few years!
Find out how he did it!
Watch the episode here
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How This Military Veteran Invested In Over 1000 Doors With Charlie Hardage
Welcome to our show that’s for you, those that work so hard for your money and you’re now ready for your money to start working harder for you. You are sick and tired of being sick and tired, sick and tired of working that great job yet, and you want a great life because that’s what this is about. It’s about living a rich life where you work because you want to, not because you have to. You can spend all the time and energy you want with those that you love, doing what you love.
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I get guests pitched to me literally multiple times a day, but this one stuck with me. I thought it was a very interesting perspective, especially because of what we are talking about here. We have Charlie Hardage join us. I find that this guy has an interesting background and interesting life and may not be really in the grand scheme of things. He’s not that much farther ahead of you, even though he’s got over 1,000 doors in real estate, which is amazing. The great thing is this is fresh in his mind. This is something he’s been doing for the last couple of years as a real estate investor. We have a great background there on that.
He started doing IT, which I know a lot of you guys are IT as well. He did some IT sales back then in the corporate world. He even spent five years in the Army as an Infantryman. He was a team leader there. He earned the Combat Infantryman Badge and a Purple Heart. I’m definitely excited to have him on, especially hearing his background and how he achieves financial freedom by buying those doors, starting as a passive investor and then leading into an active investor later on. Charlie, thank you for joining our show.
Chris, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here. Your intro hit home because I was where a lot of the audience was only a few years ago. Second, I was totally sick and tired of being sick and tired. I always tell myself, “What I am doing right now is not working.” For me, that was working the W-2 and putting money in an IRA and 401(k). Anyway, I know we’ll get into it a little bit more, but I want to say, as you said, I’m not that much further than most of your audience in a few years.
That’s what’s amazing. You’ve done a lot in just a matter of a few years, for sure. That’s very commendable. By the way, thank you for your service and your sacrifice. That’s very impressive as well. You don’t even seem like you could be old enough to do all those things you’ve done already.
That’s good to hear. I grew up, like the audience, middle-class mindset. I worked really hard in school to get good grades, a good education, pinch pennies, 401(k), and an IRA. I was like, “When I’m 70 years old, I’m going to have a nice modest nest egg,” which is nice because who knows what it’s going to be $2 million or $3 million will be worth in 30 years from now.
When 9/11 happened, I was 17 years old. My parents weren’t about to sign me up. It’s very patriotic. I still am. They said, “Go to school. Go to college and go that route.” I did that. Even in college, I was almost going to graduate. I crammed four years of college in the four and a half years. I’m not an overachiever by any means. When I was in my senior year, I was like, “I still want to go to the military.” My parents were like, “You’re almost there. Get a good job and go that route.” Of course, I did.
After working for a Fortune 35 company, I did great and made phenomenal money. I was like, “No, I’m not getting any older.” I joined the military at 25 years old. I did that for a little bit. I wanted to make it a career, but on my second deployment, I got shot. I got medically retired. My career was totally out the window. It’s what I wanted to do and what I had thought about doing since I was a child.
After that, I went back to the corporate world because that’s the only thing I knew. I didn’t have any side hustles is what they’re called, but they weren’t called that back in the day. I went back to what I knew. This whole time on my second deployment, I read Rich Dad Poor Dad a couple of months before I got injured. That started this, “Real estate sounds great, but I don’t know anything about it.” I learned as much as I could. I was in grad school and working full-time. I have a wife and a daughter, who I absolutely love.
Any second I got, I was learning about real estate because I knew there was something to it. I still didn’t know what, but I knew there was something to it. You see on HGTV, A&E, all those sexy shows about flipping homes. I was like, “I can do that,” but I never focused on anything. It was always all these real estate niches.
Finally, I was like, “I got to get laser-focused because if I’m focused on everything, I’m focused on nothing.” A few years ago, I put a lot of effort into my mindset and started bettering myself. I always thought I was smart but I didn’t really focus on improving myself which is a huge mistake. I got into two deals passively. At first, I did think it was a scam because I was like, “I’ve never heard of that.” The only passive investments I’ve ever heard of are 401(k) and IRA. Obviously, real estate is a scam.If you’re focused on everything, you’re focused on nothing. Click To Tweet
After educating myself, I’m like, “There’s something to this. I can invest my hard-earned money.” I was in the military. We don’t make much and then I went back to the corporate world and had an entry-level job at 30 years old. I invested my hard-earned money into real estate passively. At that point, that sick and tired of being sick and tired, I was like, “My financial freedom clock is now ticking.” It finally started after 35 or 36 years. I swear to you I felt this huge monkey or this weight lifted off of me. I can finally start living my life now. I’ll pause there because I know that was a lot.
That’s a great experience. I’m sure a lot of people resonate with that, too. I want to go back. As you said, you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. Was it the job that you were working? Paint a picture of what was going through your head or emotionally speaking, what was happening to you at that time?
I didn’t hate my job, but I wasn’t passionate about it. Growing up, most of us are taught, “Progress in the corporate world as fast as you can because that’s your path to financial freedom.” That never resonated with me because I had done well at work to either get no pay raise or a promotion followed by a demotion and all these things. I’m like, “What am I doing with my life? I’m lucky if I get a 2% to 3% pay increase.” I’m not good but I’m lucky. I could switch jobs and go somewhere else, which I did a couple of times.
I felt stuck. I was running in quicksand or in concrete. I knew there was better stuff out there. I just didn’t know what for the longest time. For me, I was educating myself as much as I could in real estate, financial freedom, and financial education. I wasn’t looking at what’s two years down the road. I was looking at, “What’s 40 years down the road? What’s 30 years down the road? What do I want for me? What do I want for my family?”
My daughter was probably 5, 6, or 7 at that time. It was getting focused on my end goal and my why is my family and providing and giving back to the community, leaving a legacy for my daughter, my wife, and my name. Again, I was stuck for so long that I knew something had to give. I finally discovered real estate and educated myself on being able to passively invest in real estate because everyone knows you can actively invest in it. However, that’s not what I wanted to do because I was in grad school. I was learning about real estate. I have a daughter and a wife. I wanted to say, “I’m sick of working for my money. I want my money to work for me now.” When I found that, again, it was this a-ha moment of, “I feel like I’m finally on the right path after all these years.”
What was it that they got you from the education phase? We talk a lot on the show about not just hearing the word but being a doer as well like it says in the Bible. What got you from being the person getting educated to the point where you said, “I’m going to make the leap. I’m going to start investing, even if it is just passively.” What got you over that hump?
To make matters worse, not only was I trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I’m very risk-averse by nature. Analysis paralysis is my middle name. It’s hyphenated. Most people don’t know that. For me, it was finally getting to some experts that I didn’t have to be the person or the guy who was actively flipping the house by myself because I didn’t have the time, the knowledge, or even the money.
When I heard that it was a group of normal people, there were doctors, lawyers, and teachers in there. There are sales reps and IT folks like myself who are experts in this multifamily syndication. The initial team I invested with twice had $3 billion of acquisitions over 100 deals that they had done. I was like, “I don’t have to be the expert, but I can put my money in this pot with other experts who are going to run the property. This is not their first rodeo. They’ve done this over 100 times before. It’s not small deals, but $3 billion worth of properties.”
At that point, I was like, “Even though I’m risk-averse, this is a calculated risk because I’m not doing it myself. I’m giving it to experts to invest and pool it with their own money as well. It’s not a pyramid or a Ponzi scheme.” It’s not like, “Give me your money,” because they’re putting their money in there as well. At that point, I felt like, “I can take a step back and relax because they’re doing all the work. I don’t have to analyze anything. I’m not stuck in this paralysis mindset because they have the deal. I’m not having to underwrite the deal and find the deal myself.” They handled everything, which was amazing to me. It’s like giving your money to a 401(k) or a mutual fund manager. They’re doing all the work for you.
I said, “It’s the same thing as a mutual fund manager, except it’s not in the stock market. It’s in real estate, which is an asset you can touch. You can feel it. It’s not this paper, stock, or company that if I bought Google Gmail, their stock is not going to go up or down. It’s this real tangible asset.” For me, I was sold and that was a few years ago for the apartment side. I’m probably 10x more sold on real estate and apartments now than I was even a few years ago.
It sounds like you went through almost an evolution of thinking there. You first realized, “This is not some obscure thing. This is not just a one-off deal.” There are literally thousands upon thousands of these deals going on all the time with this private money. It was normal people like you getting to those deals and financing it and then having operators do it that have experience. That seemed like you got to the point of, “Now I feel comfortable. This makes sense.”
I loved it so much. I was so impacted by being able to passively invest that I learned everything I could about becoming active and going the active route. Fast forward a couple of years and going back from now, back in 2022, I left my W-2. I’m doing real estate full-time because I had many conversations with friends and family. One of my friends who invested with me a couple of years ago, still to this day, calls me or texts me monthly and she’s like, “This changed my life. Thank you so much.”
At first, I was like, “I get it.” I’m feeling weird about it. Afterwards, I was like, “That changed my life. Why am I feeling weird about her telling me this?” I felt so grateful that even to this day, she calls me and says, “This is so profound. It made a huge impact.” That’s what I’m doing now, Chris. I still invest passively, but I’m much more on the active side, too because there were a lot of people like me a few years ago that only knew the stock market and that was it. I have a podcast that I started as well about real estate and passively investing. I’m sure people reach out to you. They heard an episode. They’re like, “This is great. How do I invest? Put me in contact with someone. I’m ready to have my money work for me. I’m ready to stop working for my money.”
What’s that podcast, by the way?
The podcast is Passive Investor’s Playbook. It’s not meant to get into a bunch of real estate terms. It’s for people, as I said, where I was a few years ago that maybe heard a couple of terms. We break it down and tell like, “Why is real estate so impactful for my guests? What was it about real estate and the passive side of real estate that was so profound?”
What I love about your story is that you’re creating your own ripple effect, aren’t you?
You took a similar path but a different path from me and because of how it impacted you personally, you’re like, “I want other people to be liberated like me too to feel what I’m feeling or experience what I’m experiencing and have that other option or that other door opening.” I can tell that you definitely have that very experience of one of the ways that you’re giving back to your own community.
Exactly. Also, I want to give back to veterans. My wife and I want to do a charity for the less fortunate with food. As far as from the real estate side, so many people work so hard for their money, but they’re sick of, I don’t know the right word here, not getting their fair share. What we do is we say, “We are in there. Obviously, we want to make money, but it’s not just about money. We want to help the community.”
If you buy a single-family home, you’re helping one family. If you buy an apartment complex, you’re helping 40 to 400 families. What that does in the community, it has that ripple effect. If we provide a safe community where the residents feel safe and they take care of it, then that shines in their community as well, not only at the actual apartment complex but in that city, where we own the property. That’s our goal.
If people want to follow you, besides your podcast, what’s the best way they can do that?
Charlie, it’s such a tremendous story and a great experience. I have final question here for you. If you were to talk to yourself, say six years ago, what advice would you give yourself?
Hopefully, I would listen to myself but let’s pretend that I do. It would be education and mindset. Focus on that because I truly feel the last three and a half years, when I started focusing on my education and my mindset, that’s when I went from single-family property to now over 1,060 doors. That financial freedom number has been attained. Education and mindset are the two biggest things I would tell myself.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s great advice. Charlie, again, thank you for your time. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice and still creating a ripple effect to this day.
Chris, thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure. I love what your show stands for.
Absolutely. Everybody, if you’re tuning into this and you realize, “I need to do this too.” Great advice is to get educated but also work on your mindset as well. I’ll tell you from my experience that I have been a coach of hundreds of clients and that is exactly the thing that gets people hung up. As Charlie had said, that keeps you from being stuck right where you are frustrated and wondering what you’re going to do and how to achieve the goals you have in your life to also having more freedom that you thought was probably possible, especially within a matter of years. Guys, the big thing I give you as advice is what Charlie said. Educate yourself and then also work on your mindset. Make a wonderful and prosperous week. We’ll see you later.
- Charlie Hardage
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- Passive Investor’s Playbook
- Facebook – HKIG LLC
- Charlie Hardage – LinkedIn
About Charlie Hardage
Charlie Hardage worked in the corporate world for over 12 years in IT Sales. He worked with household names like Google, Dell, and AWS.
Charlie spent 5 years in the US Army as an Infantry team leader earning a Combat Infantryman Badge and Purple Heart.
He has been investing in real estate since 2017 and is the Co-Founder of H&K Investment Group and host of The Passive Investors Playbook. Charlie is a part owner in over 1,050 doors across 6 properties. His company works with passive investors and helps them achieve financial freedom through cash-flowing properties.